Who takes care of the talent- that takes care of the talent?

Lord Chris Holmes, one of the judges for our Talent Acquisition awards rounded off a great winners ceremony with an important question:

Who takes care of the talent- that takes care of the talent?

Here he describes just how critical the answer is and whilst he was addressing our winders and finalists, it clearly has relevance for anyone whose role is to help their employer find and keep the people they need.

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Lord Chris Holmes, TIARA TALiNT Acquisition Judge

‘’I was honoured to be invited to judge three categories in the inaugural TIARA TALiNT Acquisition awards this year. A brilliant task at any time but none of us have lived through such a time as this. The pandemic cruelly taking thousands before their time, leaving a wellbeing crisis in its wake. It hasn’t fallen fairly across our society or economy and yet somehow, in so many ways we have continued.


From a people perspective, one of the greatest questions in need of consideration is who takes care of the talent that takes care of the talent? And it is this question which has run through my judging.  Such impressive work by all those whose role it is to take care of the talent, the individuals, and the teams. It is they who have been at the sharp end, in every organisation, there for those who need them, pretty much all of us at some stage over the past 18 months.


It is for this reason that the TIARA awards of September 22 are so important. The awards came, poignantly, almost exactly at the 18-month mark of the start of the first lock down. Everyone who had been nominated had lived every day, week and month of those multiple lock downs and the impact on their people, their places. And yet they have risen to the biggest challenge of their and our careers in so many innovative, courageous ways and it is so right that this should be marked, noted and celebrated.


Pandemic aside, all too often we move from task to task, project to project, job to job without taking that most important of moments to pause, consider and reflect.  It is these such awards that afford such an opportunity, and they are vital for that, performing such a positive function for us all.


So, to that talent. I was delighted to see programmes which sought to target refugee recruitment, another enabling volunteers into hospitals.  Many dealt delicately and effectively with the home working challenges and saw the nuances and individual circumstances which all needed to be fully understood if optimal solutions were to be found and wellbeing assured. It was great to see one leadership team take a 30% pay cut to show solidarity with their employees. It was also great to see the level of understanding as to how, often, a small seemingly of itself insignificant intervention can have such a stunningly positive impact.


Covid-19, as would always have been the case, has brought out the very best and worst of humanity. In terms of those who take care of the talent, it is, for sure, the very best. Ultimately, as ever, it comes down to leadership, to culture, to doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. To believing in your colleagues, in your teams, in your people and crucially, in what you are trying to achieve.


In the most difficult of circumstances, in times we could never have imagined, to everyone who takes care of the talent, just this, Thank You. You make a difference every day to the very fabric of your organisations and through that to our economy, our society, to our very way of being. Thank You.’’


Lord Chris Holmes MBE is a gold medal-winning Paralympic swimmer, parliamentarian and public speaker

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